In 1933 ‘The Revd Clement Humilis M.A.’ published a Supplement to the Missal … in commemoration of the 39 Beati of the Anglican Communion. It is an oscure but none the less interesting work, albeit somewhat dated. The author chooses 39 men and women who were Anglicans and who give an inspiring example. Most were people of the nineteenth century, some were earlier.
‘Clement Humilis’ was the pseudonym of Fr James Tait Plowden-Wardlaw KC, Vicar of St Clement’s, Cambridge. (Whose name is surely worthy of adding to our list of Anglo Catholic clergy with unusual names – see here.)
Clement Humilis’ choice is a personal, yet educative one. In the coming months we’ll be sharing some of his choices here on our church blog on or near the date he suggests the person be commemorated. At the same time we hope reading of his choices will encourage us to reflect on who have inspired us in faith, and how we can be encouraged by their examples.
For February 6th Clement Humilis chose ‘Blessed Lincoln Wainwright’ about whom he writes:
“Lincoln Stanhope Wainwright (1848 – 1929) was educated at Radley and Wadham College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1871. For a short time he was at St Peter’s Devizes, but in 1873 came as assistant priest to St Peter’s, London Docks, where he was to spend a lifetime of fifty six years, toiling for the poor and the outcast. He became vicar in 1884.
For forty five years he had no holiday, and throughout his whole ministry he held high the most lofty ideal of service and friendship to the poor, and of whole hearted devotion to God. In the dock strike in the early ‘eighties he refused to eat his daily dinner, because, as he said, hundreds of his people had to go dinnerless; and for forty years he went without, living on toast and tea for breakfast, lunch and tea, and only at supper partaking of a milk pudding. In February, 1929, “Dockland was washed with tears” because (in the words of a sympathetic writer) “this tiny but indomitable figure, toothless, shabby, untiring, spendthrift of love, would not serve them on earth any more.” He was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, which was his daily power-house. This priest, so comparatively insignificant on earth, looms large in the eyes of heaven and the Church of England can give hearty thanks God’s gift to her of this saintly soul.”
It is well worth reading more about Fr Lincoln Wainwright. There is a memoir of him online here. And, more briefly, an excellent article from The Spectator about him by the Anglican spiritual writer and woman of prayer, Evelyn Underhill, is reproduced here.
As you read of Fr Lincoln Wainwright think of which parish clergy (‘comparatively insignificant on earth’) have inspired you by their faithfulness and dedication to ‘the poor and outcast.’ (You are welcome to share your thoughts by commenting here).
O Lord Jesus Christ, who chose your faithful servant Lincoln to fulfil a ministry of love and kindness among the poor and outcast; make us ever to remember that, inasmuch as we do service to one of the least, we do it to you….
(Collect from the Supplement to the Missal).